Divine Wisdom Brotherhood Occult Science
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Vol. XXXI, No. 8 Toronto, October 15th, 1950 Price 20 Cents
IMMORTALITY AS IN THE ESOTERIC TRADITION
Since the two individuals the Masters had chosen to found the Theosophical Society - namely, H.P. Blavatsky and H.S. Olcott - were Buddhists, as were those Masters who were the esoteric founders, it is of great interest and import to note that a doctrine which is fundamental to Buddhism, as well as to the Secret Doctrine given to the world by H.P.B., and the Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, is widely disbelieved in by Theosophists. We refer to the Masters' teaching concerning immortality.
In the Mahatma Letters, p. 111, we find the Master's statement, "See the Abhidharma Kosha Vyakhya, the Sutta Pitika, any Northern Buddhist book, all of which show Gautama Buddha saying that none of these Skandhas is the soul; since the body is constantly changing, and that neither man, animal, nor plant is ever the same for two consecutive days or even minutes. 'Mendicants! remember that there is within man no abiding principle whatever, and that only the learned disciple who acquires wisdom, in saying "I am" - knows what he is saying'."
Since the Sutta Pitika is fundamental to the Southern school of Buddhism, while the Abhidharma Kosha Vyakhya has an extremely important place in Northern Buddhism, we can readily see how widespread this idea is among Buddhists.
Now, suppose a Theosophist were to say at this point, `Let us bear in mind that man has a dual nature - the lower of which is transitory, the higher immortal. Obviously, the Buddha meant that there is within lower man no abiding principle. He is not asserting here a non-immortality for the higher principles of man." Really? Certainly, we cannot read the Buddha's word the way this Theosophist has done, nor can we so read the Secret Doctrine, nor the letters from the Masters.
Before going any further, we should point out that Buddhism has not limited its discussions to a lower self. In The Living Thoughts of Gotama the Buddha, presented by A.K. Coomaraswamy and I.B. Horner, we find Miss Horner translating (p. 147), "The Self is lord of the self, for what other lord could
there be?" and "The self is not in Self." That Buddhism makes such distinctions we also find borne out in a conclusion reached by Dr. Maryla Falk in an article entitled "Nairatmya and Karman" in the Sept. 1940 issue of The Indian Historical Quarterly: "Buddhistic nairatmya is no more a denial of the reality of Atman than Upanishadic nairatmya: it is a denial of the immanence of Atman in contingent existence."
This last will also shed light on the remark on p. 455 of the Mah. Ltr., "One of your letters begins with a quotation from one of my own . . . `Remember that there is within man no abiding principle' - which sentence I find followed by a remark of yours, `How about the sixth and seventh principles?' To this I answer, neither Atma nor Buddhi ever were within man, - a little metaphysical axiom that you can study with advantage in Plutarch and Anaxagoras. The latter made his - nous autochratus - the spirit self-potent, the nous that alone recognized nuomena while the former taught on the authority of Plato and Pythagoras that the semomnius or this nous always remained without the body; that it floated and overshadowed so to say the extreme part of the man's head, it is only the vulgar who think it is within them."
But our fellow Theosophist could now consider us as having made dangerous admissions. "You see, according to the Mahatma Letters themselves, the impermanence was not predicated of man's sixth and seventh principles - the crux coming in the fact that these latter principles were not within the lower ones." Of course, our Theosophist is already quite rare as being one who pays at least a modicum of attention to the doctrines given out in the Mahatma Letters. As such, we must give careful consideration to his view, and while our "Really?" has not yet evaporated, we must admit to complications having set in.
Let us consider the source of man's principles - there being seven in all in the usual Theosophical listing. In the S.D. Vol. I, p. 227, we find: "Like alone produces like. The Earth gives Man his body, the gods (Dhyanis) his five inner principles, the psychic Shadow, of which those gods are often the animating principle. SPIRIT (Atman) is one - and indiscrete." As to the seventh (Atman), we find H.P.B. explaining in Key to Theosophy, p. 119, "As Atma can neither be located nor limited in philosophy, being simply that which IS in Eternity, and which cannot be absent from the tiniest geometrical or mathematical point of the universe of matter or substance, it ought not to be called, in truth, a `human' principle at all. Rather, and at best, it is in Metaphysics, that point in space which the human Monad and its vehicle man occupy for the period of every life . . . "
Since Atma is not a human principle, man's hope for survival rests in a continuance of what he has deposited in the other six principles. But if his middle principles depend on the "gods" - the Dhyanis - what will happen when the latter depart from the universal scene? H.P.B. says (S.D. I, 635): "The true Buddhist, recognizing no `personal god,' nor any `Father' and `Creator of Heaven and Earth,' still believes in an absolute consciousness, `Adi-Buddhi'; and the Buddhist philosopher knows that there are Planetary Spirits, according to his philosophy, are the the `Dhyan Chohans.' But though he admits of `spiritual lives,' yet, as they are temporary in eternity, even they, maya of the day, the illusion of a `day of Brahma,' a short manvantara of 4,320,000,000 years." According to this, there appears to be no hope for any survival past the end of the Mahamanvantara.
This is precisely what even exoteric Buddhism - at least certain branches of Northern Buddhism - would say. A work attributed to the Bodhisattva Maitreya called the Abhisamayalankara is a fundamental text in the Yellow-cap school of Buddhism founded by Tsong-kha-pa, and studied widely in the monasteries of Tibet and Mongolia. The most authoritative commentary on this work is Haribhadra's Abhisamcayalankaraloka, which says, "In the sphere of relative existence there is place for all sorts of gods, but in the plane of truth even the Tathagata vanishes." (this sentence translated by G. Tucci, Journ. of Roy. As. Soc., April 1932). And the Mahavairocana Sutra, historically important in Chinese Buddhism, also studied in Tibet, and a fundamental text of the Shingan school of Buddhism in Japan, says: "The dharma always remain such, according to their nature of dharma, whether the Tathagata appear, or not appear." (Etude sur le Mahavairocana-sutra, by R. Tajima, Adrien Maisonneuve, 1936, p. 48). We can easily relate the latter quotation to H.P.B.'s definition of Tathagata in her Theosophical Glossary, "One of the titles of Gautama Buddha, and the highest epithet, since the first and the last Buddhas were the direct immediate avatars of the One Deity." And this will also support our thesis that the lineage of Buddhas is broken, i.e., there will have to be another first one in the new Mahamanvantara. As G. Tucci remarked in the same article, "Even the dhyani-Buddhas of later Mahayana mysticism are subjective projections of the purified mind of the Bodhisattvas or of the Yogins. Their vision can be enjoyed in the highest stages of dhyana and samadhi; but, when all impressions of the great cosmic ignorance representing the negative but necessary side of the Eternal are destroyed, even Buddhas and Tathagatas disappear, since any activity of mind is lost in the paramartha. This paramartha is the Absolute beyond words, which may be called void only in so far as no predicate can be applied to it."
Our Theosophist can hardly contain himself. He says, "Oh, yes, they disappear - to reappear later! The Secret Doctrine says, Vol. I, p. 266, `Nor is the individuality - nor even the essence of the personality, if any be left behind - lost, because reabsorbed. For, however limitless - from a human standpoint - the paranirvanic state, it has yet a limit in Eternity. Once reached, the same monad will re-emerge therefrom, as a still higher being, on a far higher plane, to recommence its cycle of perfected activity. The human mind cannot in its present stage of development transcend, scarcely reach this plane of thought. It totters here, on the brink of incomprehensible Absoluteness and Eternity'."
But, unfortunately for the relevance of his observation, we must point out that this is an explanation of H.P.B.'s for a sloka of Stanza VII, and she says on p. 151 of Vol. I, "With these verses - the 4th sloka of Stanza VI - ends that portion of the Stanzas which relates to the Universal Cosmogony after the last Mahapralaya, or Universal destruction, which, when it comes, sweeps out of Space every differentiated thing, Gods as atoms, like so many dry leaves. Front this verse onwards, the Stanzas are concerned only with our Solar System in general, with the planetary chains therein, inferentially, and with the history of our globe (the 4th and its chain) especially. All the Stanzas and verses which follow in this Book I. refer only to the evolution of, and on, our Earth." Therefore, what our Theosophist quoted above cannot be considered as demonstrating any survival past the end of the Mahamanvantara, when begins the Universal Pralaya.
Similarly, suppose we read in The Voice of the Silence, "Thy shadows live and vanish; that which in thee shall live for ever, that which in thee knows, for it is knowledge, is not of fleeting life: it is the Man that was, that is, and will be, for whom the hour shall never strike," with the footnote, "Mind (Manas) the thinking-principle or Ego in man, is referred to `Knowledge' itself, because the human Egos are called Manasaputras, the sons of (universal) Mind." Here we may suggest to the reader not to be confused by the word "never". It is well known that the word "eternity" is used loosely in Oriental mysticism to designate tremendously long periods. For example, in the stanzas of Dzyan, we have "seven eternities" during the Maha-pralaya. This will prove our point concerning the word "eternity", and show that the word "never" in our present context means "not for a tremendously long time".
We should remember that according to S.D. II, 95, "Each class of Creators endows man with what it has to give: the one builds his external form; the other gives him its essence, which later on becomes the human Higher Self owing to the personal exertion of the individual." Hence, the Higher Self of man is an evolutionary occurrence. With this in mind consider S.D. II, 242: "Like produces like and no more at the genesis of being, and evolution with its limited conditional laws comes later. The Self-Existent are called CREATIONS, for they appear in the Spirit Ray, manifested through the potency inherent in its UNBORN Nature, which is beyond time and (limited or conditioned) Space. Terrene products, animate and inanimate, including mankind, are falsely called creation and creatures: they are the development (evolution) of the discrete elements." To this we can add H.P.B.'s remark in S.D. I, 614, "'Those who have read and understood it (i.e., Kant's second Antinomy) will see clearly the line we draw between the absolutely Ideal Universe and the invisible though manifested Kosmos." Perhaps the reader will see that the persistence of an entity through innumerable states and planes of existence, visible as well as invisible, does not guarantee true immortality, since there is always a line drawn between the absolutely ideal universe and the manifested Kosmos, and we cannot equate the "Self-Existent" to evolutionary developments. To be the source of a "something" is not the same as being that "something".
By the preceding route, which may be justifiably considered as devious, we have come to the juncture where we may quote the teaching given out in the Mahatma Letters (pgs. 129-131): "We call `immortal' but the one Life in its universal collectivity and entire or Absolute Abstraction; that which has neither beginning nor end, nor any break in its continuity. Does the term apply to anything else? Certainly it does not. Therefore the earliest Chaldeans had several prefixes to the word `immortality,' one of which is the Greek, rarely-used term - panaeonic immortality, i.e., beginning with the manvantara and ending with the pralaya of our Solar Universe. It lasts the aeon, or `period' of our pan or `all nature.' Immortal then is he, in the panaeonic immortality whose distinct consciousness and perception of Self under whatever form - undergoes no disjunction at any time not for one second, during the period of his Egoship. . . Suffice for you, for the present to know, that a man, an Ego like yours or mine, may be immortal from one to the other Round . . . . "
A reader who is not too familiar with some of the standard perversions that go under the name of Theosophy nowadays, might well wonder why this statement of the Masters could not have been
put forward at the very outset. Rather than do that, it was preferred to consider some associated matters, and thus make possible the demonstration of the place of "panaeonic immortality" in the general metaphysical framework of Theosophy. It is remarkable to consider the general avoidance of these issues, and the constant employment of the term "immortality" in unfounded philosophical senses. Even persons who study the Mahatma Letters may be unable to appreciate the Masters' viewpoint through conflict with the current of empty speech constantly inflicted upon them by tertiary commentators. It is with respect for the rational faculties of the reader, that an attempt to employ logical discourse has been made.
Our "unsophisticated" reader might also well wonder what has necessitated all the bother about Maha-manvantaras and the like, saying, "You people are the limit. You believe in reincarnation, and hence that you will be coming back innumerable times. Aren't you satisfied with that? Why on earth must you dispute about that `infinitely' far-off time of the Maha-pralaya, `some billions and billions of years hence'?" The answer to this is that there is no more important time, as concerns the metaphysics of the Secret Doctrine than the opening of the Maha-manvantara. The understanding of this tests the very foundations of one's mind. The unfoldment of the manifested universe, as sketched in H.P.B.'s monumental work, the Secret Doctrine, is difficult for all of us to grasp, but many have "cut the Gordian knot". Incapable, for whatever reasons of intuition or intellect, of understanding any part of the evolutionary system set forward by H.P.B., they resorted to (not God, as do those unimaginative Christians, but) Gods, endowed with great cleverness and intelligence, and with the know-how to get all the stars and planets to do the right thing at the right time. We are tempted to make use of Spinoza's marvellous phrase, and say they resorted to the reductio ad ignorantiam; and also must quote his powerful remark, " . . . . those who do not understand nature affirm nothing about things themselves, but only imagine them, and take the imagination to be understanding. . . " Now, how could these clever beings be on the scene at the very outset of the Maha-manvantara unless they had through some means, foul or fair, survived the universal destruction of the Maha-pralaya? Furthermore, how could they be so clever unless they had gone through a long preliminary evolution, since a fundamental teaching of Theosophy is that there are no special dispensations of ability? With everything becoming so easy - since, after all, with gods around, there never is any trouble getting things done, - it is no wonder that these people became very grim on this subject of immortality. It was not enough for them to live to see the next glorious sunrise, not enough to have the prospect of many lives before them in which they could surely attain to great spiritual heights by following the rules laid down, - no, they would settle with nothing less than forever! Forever, and all that this illogical concept (as pertaining to conditioned entities) entails, obviated all meditation for them, because there were no difficulties anymore! We would indeed have to go on, to interminable length to describe the various corruptions of understanding of basic principles which ensued from this fallacy, but will limit ourselves to indicating a few of these coruptions in the course of the following.
To prove the existence of non-existent intelligent individuals at the outset of the Maha-manvantara has not been the aim of the Masters. They say, rather, (Mah. Ltr., p. 141): "The difficulty of (Continued on Page 121)
THEOSOPHY IN ACTION
By Roy Masters
When I turn to writers I may be looked upon as addressing a much smaller section of the Theosophical Society than when I dealt with speakers. As a fact it is so, but it need not be so. Like speaking, writing is not nearly the elaborate miracle we make of it. The ability to write, like the ability to speak or to draw, is the common heritage of all of us, and the barrier which separates us from it is a technical training the greater part of which we received in school, and the remainder of which can be easily passed if we have the perseverance to pass it.
To which we must add the element of reincarnation and of powers now dormant, which we have all undoubtedly possessed in the past, and without having possessed which we should not now be interested in Theosophy, which is essentially a preoccupation of the creative warrior caste. It is amusing also, in a sad sort of way, that for all our belief in reincarnation, our people should proceed in their daily affairs as if they had never heard of such a thing. They will speculate about past incarnations and future ones, when the only possible merit of former lives consists in the ability to summon the powers of those lives into the present.
If those of our people, therefore, who have the occultist's point of view about life, and are more interested in the present implications of the doctrine of reincarnation than they are in the mere fact of it, will set to work on a task of writing they will be amazed to find how soon by creative effort they can bring the powers of the past into play, and how they can make long past apprenticeships serve the living Now.
If my reader will proceed as I have indicated in the article on speaking by writing down the central idea around which he wishes to build an article, and, by the process of asking the Self questions about it, will write down notes about the idea, he will find presently that the memoranda he is making will almost write themselves. Such notes must be frankly notes and not finished sentences. When they are thought of as finished sentences the mind will run next to the finished article, which at this stage is no business of the writer. He must exist in the ideas he is eliciting from the Self and not in the faults he foresees in the completed work, nor yet in the praise the completed work will bring him. The moment he runs on ahead he has broken the first rule of creative art, which is also the first rule of occultism, that he must live in the present instant.
Gradually his idea will take form. It will become round and clearly marked with the elaborations necessary to explain and amplify it. So as the writer goes on developing the idea he will feel within him a growing desire to begin the actual work of writing. Such desire will increase directly in the measure of the denial of it, until at last the writer, feeling secure in the value of his notes and feeling that they really represent something of value, will find that the task of writing them down as finished copy will be a pleasure rather than a labor because he has enlisted desire instead of having to fight it step by step.
So handled in logical steps it becomes a fascinating process, as all creative processes are. He will find as he goes on assembling his material that arising in and through his conscious thought there will be others of which he has not been conscious before, tricks of expressions, of presentation of thought, of vivid analogy, of figures of speech,
ghostly visitors from an unplumbed world of his own great past. This is the artist's consciousness of past incarnations and this it is which reinforces in him in practical use his belief of having lived before.
No words of mine can convince my reader of the authenticity of all this. He must test it, bearing ever in mind that the benefit of the creative arts is greatly to the artist and little after all to the reader, listener or spectator. The experimenter will come upon arid intervals - many at first - when nothing will come to him, when his words seem trite or clumsy or empty, but gradually the intervals will shorten and become fewer if his purpose be strong.
Of what will he write? If he follow religiously the process of which I have spoken it will not matter much, because any subject intensely examined by the process of eliciting truth from the soul will yield great values. And also, working so he will probably be too proud - and this concerns us more - to write about so many of the things people do write about. He will adhere to truths and their manifestations in life around him; he will build upon fertile things he has read that energize him to more active thought. When he attests his loyalty it will be to ideas and not to persons. When he thinks of his past or of his future it will be in its bearing upon the one moment in which each of us lives. He will write most about things which stir his mind and least about things which merely stir his feelings. He will, I think, make very few indignant retorts, because this kind of commerce with the Self makes them seem so unnecessary. He will be more interested in fertile suggestions and projections of ideas. He will see the macrocosm as the great index of his own microcosm and hierarchies only as the outer projections of his own powers. He will worship less and wonder more.
He will cease to label what he writes with the labels of the present Theosophical Society and will label it more with the universal labels of life. He will probably realize that our work is not one hundredth so much to promulgate technical Theosophy as it is to combat materialism, whether outside the Society or inside it. After he has found a few times that a clever and glittering unbrotherly saying which he knows in his soul is neither kind, true nor necessary, will dry up his sources of inspiration and make it impossible to go on in a fine vein, he will learn a practical brotherhood which is the brotherhood of the truth-speaker and the artist.
For what publications will he write? For any, if he makes up his mind to it. Outside of our own journals, which are very few now, nobody wants labelled Theosophical articles. But all except a few publications want friendly articles that make people think, that are idealistic in their tendency, that are soundly informative, that satisfy souls and that bring in the pictureful past in which men are as intensely interested as if they knew they had lived in it.
It is with our writing as it is with our speaking. Our work is for the world, and when we labor for the world we achieve our great end.
(Next - Intellectuality.)
O God, unrecognized, whom all Thy works proclaim,
O God, accept these final words, I pray;
If ever I have erred, 'twas searching out Thine aim,
My Heart was full of Thee, while gone astray.
- Francois Marie Arouet ("Voltaire")
THE CANADIAN THEOSOPHIST
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Isolated students and those unable to have access to Theosophical literature should avail themselves of the Travelling Library conducted by the Toronto Theosophical Society. There are no charges except for postage on the volumes loaned. For particulars write to the Travelling Librarian, 52 Isabella Street, Toronto, Ont.
The articles on Karma which have been published in recent issues and the correspondence relative thereto indicate that there is wide difference of opinion on this subject even among students of many years' standing. This may be disappointing to some readers who will consider that over the years there should have been evolved a common understanding of at least the fundamentals of the doctrine of Karma and that differences of opinion concerning these should have been resolved years ago. It cannot be too often reiterated that the Society encourages the utmost freedom of thought among its members. The Society itself has no beliefs or dogmas, not even Karma is a belief of the Society. No one is required to accept any standard interpretation of the teaching and it is well recognized that an individual's point of view or emphasis does change. That Karma is not as simple as many consider may be inferred from H.P.B.'s advice, "learn, then, well the doctrines of Karma and Reincarnation." Mr. Judge pointed out that the essential nature of Karma is `unknown and unknowable' except by one `who knows the ultimate division of time in this Universe.' In her article on Genius, (Lucifer Nov. 1889) H.P.B mentions a factor which has not been given as much consideration as has the commonly accepted view which emphasizes the mechanistic operation of the Law. This factor is also expressed in The Light of Asia, "Slow grows the splendid pattern that it plans, its wistful hands between." Perhaps if we would try with intuition to comprehend the `unknown' aspects of the Great Law, we might establish a convergent viewpoint on the apparently opposite theories - even though we do not succeed in `unscrewing the inscrutable' - the `unknowable' aspect of Karma.
A new hunt may soon be on for the lost continent of Atlantis, or rather for one of its cities, according to a brief report in the current issue of Science Digest. Mr. Edgerton Sykes, chairman of the Atlantis Research Center in Lon-
don, hopes to employ submarine cameras to obtain pictures of buildings or other evidences indicative of any former inhabitation of one portion of the reputed site of the lost continent. While many books have been written an this subject and while all available evidence to date of the existence of the former great continent has been carefully recorded, there has not been presented any irrefutable proof either of the continent itself or of any civilization which was carried on there. If Mr. Sykes succeeds in obtaining any pictures of a portion of a village or town or even of a few buildings, further exploration will be sure to follow.
We are delighted to bring to the attention of our readers an exquisite little gem of a book, Two Fables by Eric Aldwinckle, a member of the Toronto Lodge.
The first fable, Why am I here - a Tale of Two Vases, was written we are told, in answer to a question contained in a letter to the author. Although it is not so stated, we would assume that Auman The Seer, the second fable, also came into being because of questions. The psalmist of old said that wonder about life is the beginning of wisdom and the author of this book is one who asks questions of his own soul concerning life and its meanings and its many subtle manifestations. Having wondered and found an answer, his problem was "how can I best explain this to some other person?" The fable form of telling was a happy choice as in the Two Vases that medium of fancy readily permits the reader to have sympathy for an old Etruscan vase as it undergoes its painful and constrictive processes of formation - and then, suddenly to remember that life in this world is like that, - that he himself and all other human beings undergo trial by Earth, Water, Air and Fire.
Auman is a sensitive presentation of the problem of explaining higher powers or faculties in terms of lower ones. It is written about the sense of sight - and Mr. Aldwinckle as an artist is aware of how limited are our uses of this sense - but it is also applicable to the sense of clairvoyance or to the perception of spiritual values.
This little book of 27 pages, paper covered, printed by the University Press Toronto, and illustrated throughout with appropriate engravings of the period which were loaned by the Royal Ontario Museum, is a fine example of excellent craftsmanship throughout. The entire absence of standard Theosophical terminology is an advantage as the reader is encouraged to discover its Theosophical content for himself - and in turn to ask his own questions.
Available from Mr. E.B. Dustan, Book Steward, Toronto Theosophical Society, 52 Isabella St., Toronto 5, Price fifty cents.
IMMORTALITY AS IN THE ESOTERIC TRADITION
(Continued from Page 117)
explaining the fact that `unintelligent Forces can give rise to highly intelligent beings like ourselves,' is covered by the eternal progression of cycles, and the process of evolution ever perfecting its work as it goes along." And in the words of the S.D. I, 289, "The Initial Existence in the first twilight of the Maha-manvantara (after the MAHA-PRALAYA that follows every age of Brahma) is a CONSCIOUS SPIRITUAL QUALITY . . . It is Substance to OUR spiritual sight. It cannot be called so by men in their WAKING STATE; therefore they have named it in their ignorance `God-Spirit'."
Those who have insisted upon a full immortality for evolving entities have violated one of the most fundamental principles of the Secret Doctrine: namely, that "Nature Unaided Fails". For developments and evolution belong to "Nature" as contrasted with "Self-existent" Spirit. Then if beings with abilities developed in previous manvantaras had been present at the beginning of the Maha-manvantara and sufficed to produce a successful development of the "discrete elements," it would not be true that "Nature Unaided Fails". No, we cannot avoid the spiritual side of the Universe, if we would ever understand, and we read in the S.D. I, 430: "These `Seven Sons' and their numberless emanations, centres of energy personified, are an absolute necessity. Make away with them, and the mystery of Being and Mankind will never be unriddled, not even closely approached."
Furthermore, if it is to be asserted that a new period of manifestation and evolution could not be possible without the aid of developed intelligences of the previous periods, this would be a violation of the First Fundamental Proposition of the Secret Doctrine, which postuates an absolute Reality which antecedes all manifested, conditioned, being, and is devoid of all attributes. But the mere assertion that the Absolute does not eternally have those "aspects" which are capable of generating through radiation and what not, a new universe, is a qualification and limitation upon the Absolute - and thereby our First Principle has been dethroned from its position of Absoluteness. And if evolution in this period depended upon developed intelligences of the previous one, this would be true successively backwards, ad infinitum; and then our absolute Reality would not have anteceded all manifested, conditioned being.
Perhaps the reader will now agree with us that the reason the system given out by the Masters is difficult is that it is logical, while at the same time requiring intuition on the part of the student. Many people develop one or other of these attributes at the expense of the other, and then, on the one hand, will reject the Secret Doctrine as being "illogical"; or, on the other, will feel deeply that the system is a true representation of the world, but be unable to grasp it and correctly expound it.
Indeed, the Proem of the Secret Doctrine has been too insufficiently studied. The Third Fundamental Proposition states the evolutionary conditions necessary before any divine soul can have an independent (conscious) existence, and speaks of a time when self-induced and self-devised efforts begin. That self-consciousness arose at a definite point in space and time is a fundamental teaching of the Secret Doctrine. It arose by developed forms of matter coming into certain relations with rays of self-existent spirit. Then, when all differentiation (of matter) is dissolved and the spirit-ray is correspondingly withdrawn, that self-consciousness must necessarily depart (at a definite point in space and time). This should shed greater light on the Master's use of the term panaeonic immortality, since no other is possible, in any event, for independent entities.
Let us now return to the remark attributed to the Buddha which we cited at the beginning of this article. We assert the statement, "there is within man no abiding principle whatever" is true exoterically and esoterically, is true not only in Buddhism, but also in the Secret Doctrine and in the Mahatma Letters. This is true not only for the lower principles of man, but also for his higher principles. But, it is shown, the sixth and seventh principles were not within man, could it not be said, in this
sense, that man has an abiding principle without or "outside" him? No, in truth it cannot be said. This is why: refer to Mah. Ltr., p .347, and read, "Pythagoras had a reason for never using the finite, useless figure 2, and for altogether discarding it. The ONE, can when manifesting, become only 3. The unmanifested when a simple duality remains passive and concealed. The dual monad (the 7th and 6th principles) has, in order to manifest itself as a Logos, the "Kwan-shai-yin" to first become a triad (7th, 6th and half of the 5th); then, on the bosom of the "Great Deep" attracting within itself the One Circle - form out of it the perfect Square, thus `squaring the circle' - the greatest of all the mysteries, friend - and inscribing within the latter the WORD (the Ineffable name) - otherwise the duality could never tarry as such, and would have to be reabsorbed into the ONE." We can compare this with a remark on p. 78 of the same work, which may also shed light on the expression "squaring the circle": "The former (personality) hardly survives - the latter (individuality), to run successfully its sevenfold downward and upward course has to assimilate to itself the eternal life-power residing but in the seventh and then blend the three (fourth, fifth and seventh) into one - the sixth. Those who succeed in doing so become Buddhs, Dhyan Chohans, etc. The chief object of our struggles and initiations is to achieve this union while yet on this earth. Those who will be successful have nothing to fear of during the fifth, sixth and seventh rounds. But this is a mystery."
Thus we see that in the esoteric conception of immortality, there is required an employment of the powers and attributes of the fourth and fifth principles (purified, of course). These latter principles are the very core of man. See S.D. II, 241: ". . . the two higher principles can have no individuality on Earth, cannot be man, unless there is (a) the Mind, the Manas-Ego, to cognize itself, and (b) the terrestrial false personality, or the body of egotistical desires and personal Will, to cement the whole, as if round a pivot (which it is, truly), to the physical form of man." Therefore, at the final dissolution of organized matter at the end of the Great Period of evolution, when the differentiations on the seven planes are swept away, and along with them the differentiations in the fourth and fifth state matter, even "squared circles" get "un-squared". And this constitutes a still further explanation for the term "panaeonic immortality".
Since various of the statements by the Masters did not fail to elicit questions, it should be interesting to consider what the Master has written in answer to a point raised with relevance to our present topic. This will also serve to show that the situation is not entirely hopeless: (p. 158, Mah. Ltr.) "What emerges at the end of all things is not only `pure and impersonal spirit,' but the collective `personal' remembrances skimmed off every new fifth principle in the long series of being. And, if at the end of all things - say in some million of mililons years, Spirit will have to rest in its pure, impersonal non-existence, as the ONE or the absolute, still there must be `some good' in the cyclic process, since every purified Ego has the chance in the long interims between objective being upon the planets to exist as a Dhyan Cohan - from the lowest `Deva-Chanee' to the highest Planetary, enjoying the fruits of its collective lives." And long before that far-off time,
"Another Athens shall arise,
And to remoter time
Bequeath, like sunset to the skies-,
The splendour of its prime . . "
- Alex. Wayman.
Inspiration, as l am using the word, means the intellectual-emotional recognition of the Divine in an experience or event. It may come from the reaction to a physical event, such as a great ecstacy or a great sorrow. Or it may come from something wonderfully beautiful or pleasing, such as the sunshine breaking through the clouds following an electric storm on the prairie; or the breath-taking thrill of gazing into the depths of space when the stars are out on a soft summer night and there is no moon; or the calm and peaceful beauty of moonlight on a waveless sea; or the perfume of wild roses along a country lane in the springtime. Sometimes it comes from some wonderful passage in literature, and it is to some of these that I wish to call attention, dealing with the One Life, the Indwelling Spirit in every living thing.
"For as I passed by and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, Him I declare unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands. Neither is He worshipped with men's hand, as though He needed any thing, seeing He giveth to all life and breath and all things. And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth; and hath determined the time before appointed and the bounds of their habitation. That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being." (Acts xvii, 22-28. )
"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? For the temple of God
is holy which temple ye are." (I Cor. III, 16-17.)
"For behold the kingdom of God is within you." (Luke xvii; 21.)
"I am in my Father and ye in me and I in you." (Matt. xiv, 20.)
"He who seeth Me everywhere, and seeth everything in Me, of him will I never lose hold, and he shall never lose hold of Me." (Bhagavad Gita, vi, 30.)
"He the highest Spirit, in whom all beings abide, by whom all this is pervaded." (Bhagavad Gita, viii, 22.)
"I am the Self seated in the heart of all beings." (Bhagavad Gita, x, 20.)
"Having pervaded this whole universe with one fragment of myself, I remain." (Bhagavad Gita, x, 42. )
"Seek it by making profound obeisance of the soul to the dim star that burns within. Steadily, as you watch and worship, its light will grow stronger. Then you may know you have found the way. And when you have found the end, its light will suddenly become the infinite light." (Light On the Path, Part I, Rule 20.)
"Look for the warrior and let him fight in thee . . . . He is thyself; yet thou art but finite and liable to error. He is eternal and is sure. He is eternal truth. When once he hath entered thee and become thy warrior, he will never utterly desert thee; and at the day of the great peace, he will become one with thee." (Light On the Path, Part II, Rules 2, 4.)
"The principle which gives life dwells in us, and without us, is undying and eternally beneficient, is not heard or seen or felt, but is perceived by the mind of man who desires perception." (Idyll of the White Lotus.)
"Behold thou hast become the Light, thou hast become the Sound, thou art thy Master, and thy God. Thou art thyself the object of thy Search." (Voice of the Silence.)
The Editor, The Canadian Theosophist. Dear Sir: The article SPIRITUALISM, Fact or Fraud, by J. Haskell Kritzer, M.D., published in your August issue, and reproduced from the Journal of the National Society, should not fully satisfy earnest students. It stresses the dangers of "sittings", other forms of psychic investigation, and spotlights certain medical testimony indicating that persons suffering from mental and nervous disorders have been known to claim experiences of a clairvoyant and clairaudient nature.
But it does not solve the posed question. We ask is Spiritualism fact or fraud? The article seems to suggest that others, quite normal people of good social status and sound mind, have also had such psychic contacts. Also that the phenomena of "materialization" actually took place in the presence of the writer, but that this, in itself, was not to be accepted as evidence of the truth of Spiritualism.
It is suggested that lack of knowledge by "sitters" at seances leave them prey to undesirable influences which are not spirits at all. They are, we are told, probably "elementaries" who use the "disembodied, conscienceless, earthbound remains of suicides, executed criminals, etc., which often preside as `controls' of mediumistic seances".
The Master K.H. and Spiritualism.
Probably the most constructive contribution ever given on the above question, Spiritualism, fact or fraud, was given many years ago by the Master K.H., in one of the Mahatma Letters. K.H. praised the famous English Spiritualist, Stainton Moses, as being sincere, honest, and a most able and intelligent psychic investigator. The "inner heart" of Moses was known to him, the wider sphere of influence and contact amongst many people appreciated. It was suggested by K.H., that Moses be made contact with by the Theosophical Society. (Just imagine modern leaders of Theosophical Societies doing this?), and that an experiment be made.
To check the truth of active existence of a surviving conscience after "death", and to disprove the suggestion that only a "shell" remained for psychic contact, K.H. suggested that Moses be asked to question the spirits at his next seance. In other words instead of merely becoming passive, as most Spiritualists teach as the first step in development, that an active mental contact be made with the manifesting spirit. If a clear and lucid exchange of thoughts took place between the medium and the spirit, and about matters alien to the past experiences of such a spirit, then communication would have been proven.
Perhaps this could yet be done. For every Theosophist there are many hundreds of supporters of the Spiritualist cause. This is no evidence of the truth of Spiritualism. It is rather an indication of a direction where Theosophists could be active and where applied truths could be planted as a fertile seed. It is not enough to pour scorn on our friends the Spiritualists, even Olcott was a keen student of such psychic matters three quarters of a century ago. And H.P.B. was a gifted medium who prior to being trained by the Masters did also frequent seances. Whether Spiritualism is fact or fraud is something that has yet to be found out. Theosophists should not presume they know.
Frederick E. Tyler.
Editor, Canadian Theosophist.
Sir: - I have made a great discovery, - well, not a great discovery, perhaps. It is that Dr. Alvin Kuhn is a humourist and the nonsense he has been handing
us about Karma is just pulling our legs to see how far he can go before we twig. I will prove it to you.
His whole argument is based upon his obvious familiarity with God and His plans and preferences and will to make man do this and that. Now, Dr. Kuhn is a well known student, or should I say professor of Theosophy. According to his own account he has read everything theosophical worth reading, and everybody knows he has written a number of books, so that it is ridiculous to suppose that he is unaware that God has been dead and decently interred these many decades. Indeed much of the energy of the Founders of the Theosophical Movement was expended laying this old ghost which was accountable for sapping the self-reliance and responsibility of even intelligent students. It is true that the Neo-Theosophy of the Leadbeater persuasion revived the old gentleman but not as the King and first absolute Dictator of the whole universe he used to be, but as something they called the Solar Logos, a mere Planetary. Everybody knows that Dr. Kuhn is not of that ilk and so my first point is proved, I think, up to the hilt.
The reason why Dr. Kuhn was so elated (so he tried to make us believe) at his great discovery that Karma was not Karma but something else was because of the heavy load of terrible bad Karma many poor Theosophists carried around in imagination expecting it to fall on them at anytime. He draws a piteous picture of these poor creatures and assures them that Karma is not like that at all and they have nothing to worry about, because Karma was all fixed up by God from the beginning of things. Now this is all hooey! Dr Kuhn is a tough guy and knows well that Theosophy is for pioneers to lead the spiritual vanguard of the race and no place for people whose one desire is to compromise with truth because it does not fit in with their ideas of comfort and security. If he really met one of these poor creatures wailing under a fear of well-merited but unpleasant Karma, he would say "Brother, by error you have got into the wrong pew. This Theosophy is a difficult and dangerous business meant only for people who are willing to take a likely chance on being hurt; now across the road you will find a pew in a chapel just suited to your present needs where the blood of the Lamb is daily poured out to save people from meeting up with their accounting". Which all goes to show that Dr. Kuhn has been `having us on' - as the saying is.
And then there is another little matter which although not so clear-cut proof as the above, yet shows the way the wind is blowing. It is this; All through his article and letters on Karma Dr. Kuhn tends to identify Man with the Barishad instead of with the Spiritualized Intelligence and the Higher Self, as Theosophy and Eastern philosophy teaches. Of course the three Semitic religions pretty consistently do identify man with the creature, the animal man, in Man. Theosophy perhaps has no greater gift to us Westerners than to free us from this servile attitude to life which teaches us that of ourselves we can do nothing, but must wholly hope by obedience, humility and self-abnegation, and by piteous entreaty, that the grace of God will reach down and save us. Dr. Kuhn, of course, is well aware that Theosophy teaches that Man in his innermost essence is Divine and that by striving to identify himself with his own Higher Self, and disciplining his animal nature in order to invoke his still latent Spiritual powers, he can by such Self-reliance enter into his Spiritual heritage and that no God or other power can do this for him. All of which goes to support
my contention that Dr. Kuhn is a humourist.
And now I must say a few words about Dr. Kuhn's main contention, Karma. This is the most humourous part of the whole thing. With his tongue in his cheek, Dr. Kuhn assures us that one fine day in the cool of the evening, he saw a great light which completely reverses all that has been taught about Karma and relieves man of all fears for the future. He is amazed (and well he maybe) that Theosophists, Seers, Sages and Buddhas and what not failed to perceive this revolutionary idea. (Can you doubt that he is a great humourist?) Dr. Kuhn's new view on Karma which he says `may go far to regenerate a decadent Theosophy" (What a laugh) is just what a Methodist minister might make of Theosophical teaching regarding Karma if he happened to meet up with it. The point of view, of course, is that of the Semitic Religions, that of helpless Man being pushed around by a great big bully called God. According to this view it seems that God, in the beginning put us upon the evolutionary path and booted us heavily in the rear, and the impetus thus acquired from this vis a tergo is our Karma and will last us to the end of the road. So we make no Karma, God made it for us. True, he says, we can condition it by lagging behind to see the sights instead of allowing ourselves to be carried forward to perfection. He has quite an imagination our humourist, hasn't he? And not a word to explain the pain and sorrow and suffering which dog humanity's footsteps. But now a novel aspect of Karma appears, whilst carrying us forward it turns into a Guardian Angel and becomes protective and educative. It leads each man "to events designed to instruct him". What could be nicer? In Theosophical doctrines, I understand that Karma, a power that adjusts discords by the pressure of Nature's harmonious rhythms, is as impersonal as the force of gravity, and just as instructive and no more. This Guardian Angel angle was Dr. Kuhn's final masterpiece designed to see how much flapdoodle we would swallow.
Many students have been puzzled by all this nonsense coming from one whom we have regarded as something of an authority on things Theosophical, and some have written you trying to straighten out the tangle, only to meet with such a spate of words about nothing from Dr. Kuhn as only a master of logic could produce. I am happy to be the means of offering the obvious solution to their problems. Any votes of thanks may be sent c/o the Editor.
W. E. Wilks.
A REPLY TO PROFESSOR WOOD
By Cecil Williams
As Professor Wood's argument about unmerited suffering, in the September issue, appears to have been inspired by a discussion with me in my home, and as the issue raised is of high importance, may I be allowed to make a brief rebuttal?
The operative sentences in the original are these:
"Men often suffer from the effects of the actions done by others, effects which thus do not strictly belong to their own Karma, but to that of other people - and for these sufferings they of course deserve compensation. If it is true to say that nothing that happens to us can be anything else than Karma - or the direct or indirect effect of a cause - it would be a great error to think that every evil or good which befalls us is due only to our own personal Karma."
The italics are H.P.B.'s; but I would like to stress the words "a great error."
For indeed it can be seen to be true that many of the goods and evils we
suffer are unmerited, these unmerited effects being, in part, due to the acts of others. This last is demonstrated in the following proposition which is as self-evident as any of Euclid's:
To the degree man has freewill, he possesses the power to affect others undeservedly, for good or ill, and does, in fact, so affect them.
Or, put in another way:
Man exercising freewill is an agent of Karma in the philosophical sense of agent, as one exerting power or causing action to begin, and not in the commercial sense of agent, as a factor, one carrying out the decrees of Karma.
A hindrance to the grasping of the proposition appears to be an unconsciously materialistic preconception of the universe as a mechanism, a sort of clock, wound up at the beginning of time, or Manvantara, each tock depending upon the previous tick. Instead, it is a sort of electrical clock, which keeps ticking because the monads, or purushas, supply it, so to say, continuously with current or power, which serves to keep the mechanical part, or Karma, going.
In the context to H.P.B.'s protest, cited above, she says that in addition to the unmerited goods and evils that befall men through the actions of others, the mortal is compensated for the unmerited suffering endured through forgetfulness of his errors.
These two kinds of injustice are usually regarded by Theosophists, who hold to what I call the fatalistic concept of Karma, as being only apparent injustice. Professor Wood carries this through to its logical absurdity. He says compensation for injustice is only apparent. "The person under consideration gets nothing more in devachan than he would have got if the specific suffering had not occurred."
H.P.B.'s remarks on this subject are thus falsely made to appear unwarranted, whereas they are in reality a door left ajar into the mysteries of being.
Nor does it follow that because unmerited evils are compensated in devachan, unmerited goods are balanced by evils. Unmerited goods are a return to equilibrium, that is, to the cessation of Karmic action. Though his way of expressing it is not comprehensive enough, Professor Wood himself says, "Love makes no Karma."
The issue is not an academic one, but is of urgent practical moral import. If all goods done to me are those I have merited it is absurd for me to feel gratitude. If all evils done to me are those I have merited, to feel forgiveness is folly.
That believers in the fatalistic concept of Karma can and do both feel gratitude and forgiveness only shows they are inconsistently nobler than their philosophy. But there is danger in this philosophy, however, because thought molds character.
Their belief may in time weaken their intuitionally inspired gratitude and mercy.
THE THREE TRUTHS
The soul of man is immortal, and its future is the future of a thing whose growth and splendour have no limit.
The principle which gives life dwells in us, and without us, is undying and eternally beneficent, is not heard or seen, or smelt, but is perceived by the man who desires perception.,
Each man is his own absolute law-giver, the dispenser of glory or gloom to himself; the decreer of his life, his reward, his punishment.
These truths, which ,are as great as is life itself, are as simple as the simplest mind of man. Feed the hungry with them. - Idyll of the White Lotus.